Chicago Cubs News: Cole Hamels looking fantastic in workouts
It has now been reported that former Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Cole Hamels wants to return to baseball and looks fantastic in workouts. With Jed Hoyer and Carter Hawkins emphasizing depth, primarily for pitchers, you can never have too many players who can add value. Guys that can be had on minor-league deals can sometimes be fine-tuned and wind up being critical contributors on your big-league roster. One of those guys back in the mix and looking for a deal is a former Cubs pitcher: Cole Hamels.
Hamels hasn't pitched in the MLB since hurling just 3.1 innings in the 2020 season with Atlanta. A four-time All-Star, Hamels is back and looking to get reacquainted at the major league level. During his brief stint in Chicago, he recorded a 2.36 ERA in the second half of 2018, followed by a respectable mark of 3.81 in 141.2 frames in 2019.
Although he's looking great in workouts; teams must be wary of how much he has in the tank moving forward. Three years off is a long time to be away from baseball at the highest level; therefore, how many innings will he be capable of handling?
Chicago Cubs: What role can Hamels provide moving forward?
You don't necessarily have to limit him to starting pitching duties. Entering his age 39 season, you can also envision a role as a bulk reliever for him out of the bullpen, at least. Especially if it comes down to being able to be had on a minor league deal, there is almost no risk in acquiring him. For the Cubs, a feasible ceiling is as a reliever/fringe spot starter at best if needed, and anything else is just a bonus.
Again, we're three years removed from seeing Hamels in action, but against left-handed hitters; he owns a slash of .234/.301/.365 against him, along with 201 earned runs throughout 572.1 IP, suitable for a 3.16 career ERA. In an attempt to squeeze out some value here, it will be interesting to see if he can still put up numbers similar to this against lefties because if so, that will be crucial to his path back to the MLB.
As it sits, the Cubs still have just one everyday lefty in the bullpen, Brandon Hughes. We know the Cubs are still shopping around to add a veteran piece to the back end of their bullpen, but taking a flyer on Hamels and being able to call him up could be another backup option the Cubs can utilize if needed. It goes without saying that if Hamels is picked up, it will be on a one-year deal. It will be interesting to see how his journey back to the MLB continues to develop.